How is leishmaniasis categorized?

Updated: Feb 18, 2020
  • Author: Craig G Stark, MD, FACP, FFTM, RCPS(Glasg), FISTM; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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The taxonomy of Leishmania organisms is complex, and no single categorization is generally accepted. The 2 simplest and most widely used systems for categorizing leishmaniasis are as follows:

  • Categorization by clinical disease: In this system, leishmaniasis is divided into 3 primary clinical forms: cutaneous (localized, diffuse (disseminated), leishmaniasis recidivans, post–kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis), mucocutaneous, visceral (kala-azar or black-fever in hindi ), and viscerotropic

  • Categorization by geographic occurrence: In this system, disease is divided into (1) Old World leishmaniasis (caused by Leishmania species found in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and India), which produces cutaneous or visceral disease, and (2) New World leishmaniasis (caused by Leishmania species found in Central and South America), which produces cutaneous, mucocutaneous, and visceral disease

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